The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, announced today the release of the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (Draft FR/EIS) for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Study.
The Draft FR/EIS proposes a tentatively selected plan to deepen the major shipping channels within the harbor from 45 to 52 feet at an estimated cost of $509 million. The cost would be shared between the federal government and the South Carolina State Ports Authority at $166 million and $343 million, respectively.
The release of the Draft FR/EIS is a significant milestone for the feasibility study, which analyzes the economic, environmental and engineering considerations related to improvements to meet the changing needs of the harbor and the increasing size of the vessels that use it. The Post 45 study is on the leading edge of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ streamlined civil works planning process, which aims to deliver solutions to water resources problems quicker and at lower costs.
The marine vessel fleet is trending to larger, deeper-draft vessels, particularly for containerships. The existing dimensions of the Charleston Harbor channels place constraints on deeper-drafting containerships, which results in reduced efficiency and increased costs. Economic benefits would be generated by addressing inefficiencies in the existing transportation system to lower transportation costs.
The tentatively selected plan maximizes these benefits while avoiding, minimizing, and compensating for adverse environmental impacts. Full analyses of the engineering, economic and environmental considerations are contained in the Draft FR/EIS.
“This is a great day for the Charleston District and the nation, and we’d like to thank our cost-share partners at the SCSPA, as well as the agencies that contributed to this study, for their support throughout this process,” said Lt. Col. John Litz, Charleston District Commander. “The Post 45 team, made up of subject matter experts from across the Corps of Engineers, has worked vigilantly to achieve this important milestone. Through innovation and dedication, the team has ensured this study was done efficiently and effectively.”
With the release of the Draft FR/EIS, the Charleston District also announced a public meeting, scheduled for October 21st. The meeting will be held at The Citadel’s Alumni Center at 69 Hagood Ave, Charleston, SC 29403, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. A presentation on the study’s findings, discussing how the Charleston District determined their recommended plan, will be given at 6 p.m. Then, there will be an open house forum where the public can view displays and ask questions about the study.
The official public commenting period for the Draft FR/EIS begins on Friday, October 10th, and runs until November 24th. All comments received on the Draft FR/EIS will be included and addressed in the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, which may differ from what is presented in the Draft FR/EIS.